Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mary Did You Know?

I was raised a Catholic so I have some of the beliefs and traditions almost embedded in me.  Catholicism taught me to respect and adore Mary, Jesus' mother.  I have always had a great love for Mary, and once I became a mother, my love and respect grew.  When I was driving to work the song "Mary Did You Know?" came on and it really had me thinking.  It made me think of how Mary felt being Jesus' mother.  In a lot of ways, she can relate to how we, as mothers today, feel and what we are going through.  Imagine the stress she felt knowing she was carrying God's child.  Today we are pressured with eating the correct food, gaining the right amount of weight, doing everything perfectly so that the child we carry for 9 months has the best chance of being born healthy.  Could you imagine carrying God's child? I know I would be a nervous wreck trying to take the best care of the unborn child I was carrying.  Then when she gave birth to Jesus, I can only imagine the pride she felt.  I know that my daughter is my pride and joy.  Her son was perfect, without sin, and God's chosen son! Wow, the amount of pride she must have felt! Then as He grew older and performed miracles, cured the sick, taught of the good of our Father, how honored she was.  I am proud of my daughter when she recites her ABC's perfectly or says thank you without being reminded.  Could you imagine having a perfect sinless child?  And the heartbreak she had to go through watching her son die for all of our sins.  I absolutely could not imagine that.  When my daughter was first born I had this constant fear of losing her.  I wanted to put her in a bubble so that I could protect her and ensure she would always be safe.  As she has grown older, I have become less fearful, but I still worry about her often.  I think it's only natural for a mother to worry about her children.  It's our instinct to protect our children.  Mary could not protect her son from the pain he endured as he was crucified for our sins.  I could not even imagine.  Mary is such a great example for us mothers.  When we are stressed about being the best mom, and raising our children the right way, and wondering if our children will turn out to be good human beings, we can always turn to Mary.  She went through it all and God got her through every step.  So mommies, I encourage you to always turn to God when any need arises with your children.  He will lead you through it all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

All is calm...

All is calm...
The other beating hearts in the house are sound asleep.  The clothes dryer is making a constant hum that is soothing.  The world is not yet awake because the sun is still sleeping as well.  The Christmas tree is the only light in the room, putting off a soft warm glow.  
I'm sitting here with hot fresh coffee in my hand as I have my feet propped up.  I can only think of life as it is right now, where God has brought me and my family, and I'm so thankful.  I feel at peace.

Thank you, Lord, for your mercy and grace. Your constant presence in my life brings me a sense of peace and joy. I will never deserve your unfailing love. Thank you for this blessed life and your guidance always.  I am forever grateful!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tis the Season

Every year Christmas seems to sneak up on me. I end up frantically running around at the last minute to finish shopping. I put out my decorations so late its almost pointless. I quickly lose sight of the meaning of Christmas because I become so wrapped up in the stress of the unnecessary. This year I vowed to be different. 
Lillian is at such a fun and precious age, which makes Christmas so much more fun and meaningful.  Jon and I have really tried to focus on spending time as a family celebrating this special holiday.  We went and picked out our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving (in the rain might I add).  We had a lot of fun decorating it and even more fun watching Lillian help.  She would get so excited after hanging each ornament on the tree.  The first weekend in December we took a trip to Dallas for the Gift of Christmas at Prestonwood church.  It is always so entertaining and really gets you into the Christmas spirit.  The following week Jon and I ran in a Christmas 5k downtown.  The streets were decorated and lit for Christmas.  There were carolers along the course singing.  It was so much fun! About a week later we drove to Jefferson, TX one evening and rode a Christmas train.  It was not as exciting as I had hoped for, but Lillian really enjoyed it. After the train ride Lillian rode a carousel for the first time and loved it! (She keeps calling it a Ferris wheel) The following weekend we drive to Dallas again and spent time with Jon's side of the family. We went to the ICE exhibit at the Gaylord, where Lillian kept wanting to lick all the ice. We really enjoyed spending quality time with family we don't see often.  Somewhere in between all that we found time to put up Christmas lights on our house, Lillian had a birthday party for Jesus at school, and I sent out Christmas cards.  Lillian visited with Santa one afternoon and was so excited. She told him she wanted a pink helmet and a pink bike, some blue toys, and a banjo.  We still plan on baking cookies for Santa and a birthday cake for Jesus. 
Although I still have presents to buy and wrap, food to prepare, and a messy house, we have surely enjoyed celebrating Christmas. 
I hope to instill the importance of Christmas and Christ's birth in Lillian.  I hope she never loses sight of the real meaning of Christmas and always believes in the magic as well. 

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.  Psalm 126:3

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Define Beauty

My daughter has taught me many things so far in her 33 months on this Earth.  One of the most important things is what beauty truly means.  As a woman it is easy to get wrapped up in the latest fashion trends, or makeup tricks, or wearing flashy jewelry.  It's all around us everyday and makes it easy to compare ourselves with those that are perceived by the public as being beautiful.  My daughter is such a beautiful person to me. I have come to realize that in her eyes I am beautiful too.  She compliments my soft hair while running her fingers through.  She pokes her tiny fingers into my deep dimples.  She notices if I'm not wearing a smile and asks why I am mad or sad.   She likes to point out all my moles (she would have a joy of a time playing connect the dots).  She will say "I wuv your eyes maw" (yes, my daughter calls me 'maw'). My nose, the one body part that has caused me the most self esteem issues, is her favorite when we give Eskimo kisses, and then she lets out a deep belly laugh.  Knowing that she admires these things about me makes me proud. Proud of who I am. Proud that she is mine. Proud that she sees beauty in others. 
I'll never forget several months back when my husband and I were getting ready to go somewhere and I was being negative nancy about my hair, makeup, clothes.  It was just one of those days where I didn't like any of it. It was a bad hair day (probably greasy and barely combed). My circles were darker than normal and bags hung under my eyes, really showing my lack of sleep. My clothes didn't fit right and made me feel uncomfortable. My husband pointed out how negative I was being, he reminded me that he thought I was beautiful and he also said something I'll never forget. He told me not to be so negative about myself and to be sure I don't speak like that in front of our daughter, because it would only teach her that it's ok to criticize the way God made you.  That little thing he said really stood out to me (and I'm willing to bet he doesn't even remember it).  From that day forward I have made a point to try to look at myself in a more positive way, or find something positive, especially on those 'down days.'  I tell my daughter she is beautiful or pretty often.  When she points out other people or things, I try to find something positive to say about whatever it may be.  There is so much negativity and criticism in this world, but I hope that I can instill a heart and mind in my daughter that sees the beauty in everything. God made each and everyone of us beautiful in our own unique way.

Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should clothe yourself instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 
1 Peter 3:3-4

Monday, December 7, 2015

Miracle Medicine

In the late summer of 2014 I decided to give running a shot and try out the Couch to 5K program.  I was terrible! I was definitely a couch potato and seriously lacked the motivation to get up and run.  I didn't complete it.  A few months later some tragic things happened in my life that sent me on a downhill spiral.  I knew I had to do something to lift my spirit and get me back on my feet.  I got off the couch and started running.  I ran my first 5k without stopping to walk on Thanksgiving of 2014.  I was so proud! I found confidence that had been hiding for some time. I soon became addicted to running!  While I was running, I found the beauty of the world, of God's creation, in fact, I found myself having conversations with God while I was out for a run.  After I finished my run I felt like a million bucks, like I could conquer the world.  The addiction grew deeper.  I never labeled myself as a runner though, until one day I realized the excitement I got when I laced up my shoes in anticipation of running.  Running is God's miracle medicine.  Running got me out of a dark time in my life and brought a new better meaning to it.  Running has helped me gain control of anxiety and fear that was affecting my life.  Running has helped me feel good about myself, about my body, about life.  
I realized early on that not everyone has the opportunity to feel what amazing things running can do, and for those people I was instantly sad.  I came across an organization that also realized this same thing and decided to do something about it.  Who I Run For pairs up runners with buddies.  A buddy is a person who can not run due to physical or mental disabilities, but who would love to.  Once matched together through the organization, the runner dedicates all miles to the buddy while the buddy encourages the runner to hit the pavement (or trails...or treadmill).  What a wonderful relationship!  I signed up and 6 months later was paired with Summer. She is a 36 year old with Spina Bifida.  We have just touched the surface on knowing one another, but I'm looking forward to running for her and learning more about her life.  I'm glad I have found a love for running and also a way to give back to those that cannot physically run themselves!